VIENNA — On May 13-14, the international conference “Culture in Conflict: The South Caucasus Today” was held at the Museum of Historical Arts in Vienna, focusing on the looming problems and dangers of protection and the preservation of the cultural heritage of Artsakh. The conference was organized under the patronage of His Holiness Karekin ÉÉÉ, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, by the Austrian Committee of the Mother See Office for Spiritual and Cultural Heritage Issues of Artsakh.
During the conference, international and Armenian speakers pointed out that during the 2020 war, and since November 9, many cases of destruction and distortion of Armenian Christian culture by Azerbaijan have been recorded in the occupied territories of Artsakh, which demonstrates the Policy of the Azerbaijani State of eliminating the Armenian cultural trace. Evidence of this criminal policy of Azerbaijan has been presented in the form of documentary documents: satellite photos, videos, etc., which undeniably affirm the systemic vandalism of Armenian cultural heritage and demand the international condemnation and prevention of these crimes for the defense of Christian heritage. of world culture.
Dr. Jasmine Dum-Tragut, Head of the Austrian Committee of the Mother See Office for Spiritual and Cultural Heritage Issues of Artsakh delivered the welcome message at the conference.
The speakers presented various initiatives for the protection of cultural heritage, which can be exemplary in the case of Artsakh. A detailed reference was made to the International Court of Justice of the United Nations in 2021. According to the decision taken in December 2010, Azerbaijan undertakes to abandon its policy of destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Artsakh. The speakers also presented international and Armenian initiatives that serve to preserve this heritage and raise its issues. As a co-organizer of the conference, the chairman of the Austrian Blue Shield committee, Karl Habsburg-Lothringen, criticized the Azerbaijani actions and considered important the exchange of international experiences on the cultural heritage preservation skills of the representatives of Armenian culture, as well as representatives of the army. He also noted that work is underway to open a Blue Shield office in Armenia, which will allow this international organization for the protection of cultural heritage threatened by military actions to also operate in Armenia.
His Grace Archbishop Tiran Petrosyan, Pontifical Legate of the Armenian-Apostolic Church for Central Europe and Scandinavia, conveyed the welcome message of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians to the conference, as well as messages were delivered by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, the Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh, the Most Reverend Garegin Hambardzumyan, the Director from the office of Mother See for matters of spiritual and cultural heritage of Artsakh. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to Austria, Mr. Papikyan addressed the participants with his welcome speech.
Speakers included four participants from Armenia: Raffi Kortoshian, deputy director of the Armenian Architecture Research Foundation, Ani Avagyan, executive director of the Armenian Heritage Foundation.
Matenadaran, the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts was presented by Sona Baloyan, Senior Specialist in International Relations.
Documentary filmmaker Seda Grigoryan presented the documentary film “Cultural Conflict”, showing an episode of cultural genocide in Nakhichevan and drawing parallels with the current situation of endangered heritage sites in Artsakh.
Prior to the conference, an exhibition entitled “Culture in Conflict: Armenian Cultural Heritage of Artsakh” was held in Salzburg from May 11 to 14, during which manuscripts, printed books and other interesting materials kept in the library of the Mkhitarist Congregation in Vienna were exhibited. .
Father Garegin Hambardzumyan
Brotherhood of the Mother View